To elucidate the correlation between enhanced biogas production and changed physico-chemical properties of methanogenic granules after low strength ultrasonication, in this study, the effects of low strength ultrasonication on the settling velocity, permeability, porosity, and fluid collection efficiency of the methanogenic granules were investigated. In addition, their morphological changes were visualized using a scanning electron microscopic technique. The experimental results indicate that low strength ultrasonication increased both the permeability (37%) and specific surface area (230%) of the granules through the generation of greater craters and cracks on the granular surface compared to the control granules. The penetration of nutrients and substrate into the granules was thereby enhanced, and more favorable conditions for achieving higher anaerobic performance were provided to the ultrasonicated granules. The microbial community shift caused by the changed physico-chemical properties of the methanogenic granules will be further analyzed in part II of this study.